The Ministry of Agriculture through the Agriculture Development Corporation Kenya (ADC) has recently rolled out an affordable hand-pushed multipurpose tractor that has the power of 3 bulls in tilling . The walking tractor has been designed to target farmers in Kenya who cannot afford to buy the big, expensive tractors. These new tractors will help farmers practice modern farming and do away with donkeys and bulls.
ADC’s Ronnie Bosire explains that the walking tractor costs around KES 150,000 to KES 250,000 depending on the country of import and the engine size. He further says although that might seem expensive for some small holder farmers in Kenya, it is affordable considering tractors cost as much as KES 1 million depending on the tractor brand. The Ministry’s official says the technology was borrowed from China and Japan where mechanized agriculture is the order of the day.
The machine has been designed with specific considerations to make work easier. In case a farmer is working late into the night, there are head lights for visibility. It also has a plough disc for tilling the farm (of different shapes depending on the nature of the work a farmer wishes to perform). Other than tilling the land, small holder farmers can also use it to pump water to the farm. Given that it is fitted with a chaff cutter, it can also be used to cut animal feeds. Additionally, it can also pull farm inputs and outputs of up to half a tonne when attached to a trolley. And it uses minimal fuel efficiency.
“With four to five litres diesel — given the local market price of diesel of Sh90 — one spends like 90*5=Sh450 on the job. Compare this to the price of tilling an acre of land which is Sh1,500 on the lower side,” Bosire he says. Maintenance is simple.
“To boost efficiency, the brakes should be lubricated and adjusted. It should be kept clean so that it’s easy to spot damaged components and leaks. It’s also good to regularly check oil, fuel, water and tighten loose nuts tire pressure.” And what are the disadvantages of the walking tractor? Jared Kiplimo from Nandi who has used it says he has noticed that when the sun is too hot, or when it is raining, the machine does not work at optimum. At the same time, it requires careful maintenance and also produces exhaust of diesel fumes which can pollute the environment.
via Smart Harvest